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BMA gives go-ahead on senior center

Hours after members of the Senior Center Advisory Committee unanimously approved design changes to a new senior center to be located off East Main Street, members of the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen also approved the changes at a meeting on Sept. 9.
The changes are a result of a project estimate that was roughly $2 million less than the actual low bid to construct the new facility. Town leaders worked with the project architect, Ken Ross Architects, and the low bidder, Rainey Construction, to pare down the proposed center to drop the cost from $4.569 million to $2.3 million.
The new plan eliminates a third of the basement floor altogether and leaves that floor completely unfinished. A $500,000 contribution to the project from Washington County will likely be used to finish some of the bottom floor at a later date.
The space had been allotted for exercise rooms as well as locker rooms and showers in the original design.
Adjustments on the main floor of the facility include the elimination of a commercial kitchen area as well as some office space.
Leaders also whittled down attic space and opted for a simpler HVAC system than the one included in the original bid.
At last week’s meeting, the BMA did reinstate three items from the original plan that had been axed in the cost-reducing effort. Mayor Kelly Wolfe recommended the changes, all to the exterior of the building.
Plans to reduce expense by $29,850 by using architectural asphalt shingles rather than a metal roof had Wolfe airing concerns about just how far the cost cutting was going.
“You’re going to be dramatically increasing the lifespan of the roof by using a metal roof,” Wolfe said.”A metal roof will better serve the building, last longer and be more attractive. And $29,000 won’t begin to touch what it would cost to re-roof the building.”
Alderman Chuck Vest agreed.
“Changing it back to the metal roofing is something we need to do,” he said. “That could last generations.”
Balconies on the exterior of the building were also added back in at Wolfe’s recommendation as was some brick work above windows on the building. The two items add approximately $11,000 back to the final cost of the building.
In all, the three changes total $41,000.
“Adding that to the building over the life of the loan and the life of the building is insignificant,” Wolfe said.
The town now must get the new design plans approved by the state fire marshal before work can begin on the construction of the center.